Mademoiselle Revolution

Berkley. Aug. 2022. 432p. ISBN 9780593336038. $27. F
DEBUT A young biracial heiress who has avoided thinking about the plight of enslaved Black people around her in the French colony of Saint-Domingue—her people—discovers a talent for behind-the-scenes politics when she flees the Haitian Revolution for France. Sylvie de Rosiers, the daughter of a long-dead enslaved Black woman and a white coffee plantation owner, is caught between two worlds. Not fully accepted by Saint-Domingue society but, nevertheless, leading a privileged life, she flees the 1791 overthrow of the French regime in Haiti only to find herself again in danger, from the even more violent French Revolution. She meets Robespierre and his mistress, Cornélie Duplay, and becomes active in the first stirrings of the French Revolution. At first, Sylvie is mostly concerned with keeping her dark skin out of the island sun and making a good marriage match, but she has to grow up fast.
VERDICT A richly imagined work of historical women’s fiction incorporating themes of diversity and equality very relevant today, this thrilling debut will give book clubs much to discuss.
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